|[a] Southwest RF|
It signals "relevance" and "contention" faster than you can say "SB 1070."
|[b] Winding RF|
That's a whole mouthful of stuff, so let's take a step to consider what it all means. Then we'll dive right into the heart(s) of the matter.
|[c] Complicated RF|
Asia—it's a great big blob of turf, and not easy to define. Eurasia is a bigger blob of turf, and a portmanteau on top of it; it's even harder to define. The reason I am sticking with it has to do with the topic of the book, of course, but even more because I like the vagueness of it all. It suits both the project and these posts. I want to consider the Tajiks right along with the Miao, and the Ainu with the both the Uyghurs and the Mongols. I want it messy, right down to the question "what about "Uighurs?"
|[d] Blending RF|
Yes, it certainly would sound better. It just wouldn't be messy enough. Ethnicity? That sounds just a little bit too clean and segmented for my purposes. I am working with gummed-up machinery here. This isn't like knowing engine parts and being able to show how they function smoothly as separable items working together. That's sloppy structural-functionalism, and it won't cut it here. Ethnicity only seems to be clean and separable, and to the extent that we perpetuate the "parts" rhetoric we fail to underline just how much merging and assimilating and, frankly, fighting goes into every aspect of ethnic discussion.
Even delineating an ethnic group ("the Bai people live near Lake Er in Yunnan, wear colorful clothing, and make toys of bamboo") is ideological and pointed. There is nothing "objective" about it. The very idea of ethnic groupings creates a profoundly mixed-up concatenation of "subjectivities" that are not told well if they seem clear and clean—like the minority group (民族) dolls in native dress that can be purchased in department stores all over China.
Think of this series as a kind of paper doll exercise in which those clearly articulated ethnic groups start blending together, fighting, resolving, and intermarrying over 3,000 years of history. Asian Ethnicities. It's supposed to be complicated.
|[e] Presentation RF|